Vol. 9, No. 3 June 16, 2009
- Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad’s agreement to remain as PA prime minister defied the unprecedented opposition to his new PA government by both Hamas and the Fatah movement. While Fayyad’s stellar reputation in the West as a reformer-statesman continues to inspire confidence among U.S. security officials and Western donor nations, his position is far more difficult in the fragile Palestinian political reality.
- While the Fatah Central Committee tolerated the previous PA government due to its offensive against Hamas subversion in the West Bank, Fatah’s overall opposition to the current cabinet reflects fundamental divisions between its “young guard” and the older and more powerful founding generation.
- Fayyad has continued to pay monthly salaries to nearly 12,000 Hamas Executive Force members, which had been agreed upon by the short-lived Palestinian national unity government in 2007. The same PA-funded Hamas Executive Force fought IDF troops in the recent Gaza war.
- Fayyad also avoided confrontation with Fatah’s Iranian-backed Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, even integrating its militia leaders as local commanders in the PA’s National Security Forces (the U.S.-backed “Dayton forces”). While PA forces dispersed Hamas demonstrations in the West Bank during the Gaza war, they did not act against the protests of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades.
- Fayyad’s government reflects the intention of the U.S. to create a new security framework in which the Palestinians could move from an era of gangsterism, armed resistance, and terror to an era of nation-building and statehood. However, Fayyad does not have the political base to succeed in the long term. Moreover, Washington’s notion that reformed political power can be purchased is naïve.
- The PA prime minister’s alliance with the “young guard” Fatah leadership has thus far proved to be insufficient and the deals he has made with local warlords and militia groups in the West Bank have severely compromised his state-building project.
Just days before Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas’ first official White House visit with U.S. President Barack Obama on May 28,2009, PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad reversed his resignation for the second time in three months. He had first offered to step down in January 2009,1 under growing pressure from Fatah, but immediately acceded to Abbas’ appeal to stay on as prime minister. Fayyad’s latest return enabled Abbas to cobble together a tenuous, last-minute, coalition in advance of the Washington summit.
The Abbas-Obama meeting only stimulated Hamas’ determination to topple the PA government. Hamas officials immediately labeled Fayyad a “traitor” and promised an “earthquake” of a response.2 Within a few days, the Fayyad-led PA security forces and Hamas were engaged in a deadly firefight in the West Bank town of Kalkilya in which three PA security forces and three Hamas operatives were killed including Hamas senior commander Mohammed Samman. The bloody showdown did not reflect the PA’s willingness to uproot terror groups. In fact, PA security forces later admitted on Al Jazeera that they had not intended to open fire on Hamas, but merely acted in self-defense as Hamas had opened fire on them.3 One senior Fatah security official considered the fatal showdown as a step toward civil war in the West Bank.4
Fayyad’s last-minute agreement to remain as PA prime minister defied the unprecedented opposition to his new PA government by both Hamas and the Fatah movement. While Fayyad’s stellar reputation in the West as a reformer-statesman continues to inspire confidence among U.S. security officials and Western donor nations, his on again, off again resignations indicate far more difficult political fortunes in the fragile Palestinian political reality. They also indicate severe internal security and political threats to Palestinian political stability that may be overlooked by Western observers.
Another Fragile “Interim” PA Government
Hamas’ opposition to the new PA government is clear. The Hamas leadership and parliamentary majority elected in 2006 did not recognize the previous Abbas-Fayyad government. Furthermore, the previous Fayyad administration had entirely excluded Fatah figures from the cabinet, whereas the new government has given Fatah eight portfolios. However, this Fatah participation is misleading. It only includes a certain sector of Fatah figures loyal to jailed Tanzim leader Marwan Bargouti and former Gaza strongman Muhammad Dahlan. Moreover, the Fatah Central Committee did not approve the appointments, as part of its protest against the new government. The Fatah Central Committee’s rejection of the new PA government and the simultaneous participation in the cabinet by some Fatah figures has further weakened Fatah’s overall public support and has strengthened Hamas across the West Bank.5
While the Fatah Central Committee tolerated the previous PA government due to its offensive against Hamas subversion in the West Bank, its overall opposition to the current cabinet reflects fundamental divisions inside Fatah between the “young guard” and the older and more powerful founding generation. The Fatah majority opposition to Fayyad and Hamas’ violent rejection of his second independent “interim” government has already seeded the ground for future instability in the West Bank.
What’s Behind Fayyad’s Multiple Resignations?
On March 7, 2009, Fayyad submitted his resignation to Abbas, saying he wanted to remove himself as an obstacle to sensitive reconciliation talks between Fatah and Hamas.6 His announcement came just weeks after a Gaza international aid conference in Sharm a-Sheikh, Egypt, allocated $5 billion to his government to rebuild Gaza. Despite his declaration, Fayyad did not leave his post and instead acceded to Abbas’ request to continue as prime minister until the possible formation of a Fatah-Hamas national unity government.7 With the swearing in of a new interim government, the prospects of a Fatah-Hamas government now appear slim.
Many Israeli and Western observers have tended to interpret Fayyad’s resignations as tactical moves that would keep him firmly in the prime minister’s office on the expectation that Hamas-Fatah reconciliation talks would ultimately fail.8 However, his two resignations and subsequent return suggest far greater tensions and political dysfunction. Understanding the Palestinian context of Fayyad’s severe political limitations reveals a sizable gap between Western expectations that he can deliver wide-ranging Palestinian reforms from the “top down” and the starker realities of the Palestinian street. Both Fatah and Hamas see Fayyad as interfering with and even threatening their respective political agendas, and steadfastly reject his U.S.-backed challenge to their authority.
Fayyad’s government was initially established by special decree following Fatah’s expulsion from Gaza by Hamas in June 2007, when in reaction Abbas disbanded the Hamas-Fatah national unity government. However, neither Fayyad nor his government of independent figures were members of the PLO’s ruling Fatah faction. Rather, they were independent technocrats from the secular-civil NGO community in the West Bank. They represented the old Palestinian left and its human infrastructure from the First Intifada in the late 1980s.
From its inception in 2007, the Fayyad government’s politically peripheral status set it on a collision course with both Fatah and Hamas: Fatah has been determined to get rid of Fayyad because he sidelined them when forming his independent government. Hamas has rejected Fayyad as prime minister because his Ramallah-based government was born outside of the Hamas-controlled Palestinian Legislative Council. In fact, the very existence of the Fayyad government was perceived as a challenge to the legitimacy of Hamas’ Gaza-based government headed by Ismail Haniye.9
The Palestinian Forces of U.S. Gen. Dayton
Fayyad’s Western-backed security and economic policies only exacerbated tensions with both Fatah and Hamas. Fayyad cooperated with U.S. security reform plans in line with the Roadmap to establish an independent force called the Palestinian National Security Forces – named the “Dayton forces” by Hamas. Its ranks were vetted and trained by U.S. security subcontractors in Jordan under the supervision of Gen. Keith Dayton, U.S. Security Coordinator for the Palestinian Authority. Under Fayyad’s supervision, the Palestinian National Security Forces have been mobilized to establish law and order in West Bank cities including Jenin, Nablus, Bethlehem, and Hebron.
The “Dayton forces” are considered by the U.S. to be the major success of Fayyad’s government. U.S. enthusiasm over its early successes has resulted in the doubling of the force to nearly 3,500 troops and a near 70 percent increase in its 2009 budget to $130 million.10
The IDF General Staff has also noted the positive contribution of the “Dayton forces” in preventing violence in the West Bank during Israel’s war against Hamas in Gaza in the beginning of 2009.11 However, Brig.-Gen. Michael Herzog, chief of staff to Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak, said that while the PA security forces have improved significantly over the last year, they were still far from ready to assume full security responsibility in the West Bank.12
Despite noticeable improvements in public security in some of the major Palestinian West Bank cities, Fayyad’s control of these forces has upset many in Fatah. Some senior Fatah members have heavily criticized Fayyad’s lack of a security background,13 while others have simply been indignant that the unaffiliated Fayyad has replaced Fatah in the PA’s key security role. The Fatah Central Committee even voted in November 2008 to compel PA Chairman Abbas to replace Fayyad as head of the security forces with an approved Fatah member.14
Hamas has viewed Fayyad as far more problematic, with Hamas websites comparing Fayyad to Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai and Ahmad Chalabi in Iraq who, they said, were installed by the United States in order to uproot the Islamic resistance (muquawama).15 Both Hamas and Fatah’s Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades even threatened Fayyad’s life
Power Struggles in the West Bank
Fayyad’s reform-oriented economic policies were greeted with similar opposition. The prime minister had encouraged local, private-sector, business initiatives such as the “economic group” led by Nablus tycoon Munib al-Masri. Fayyad also initiated high-profile economic conferences in Nablus and Bethlehem to encourage international investment. At the same time, Fayyad called on Israel to remove security checkpoints and facilitate the movement of economic goods and services as a prerequisite for economic growth.
Fayyad’s Western-style economic reforms and initiatives enhanced his “most favored Palestinian statesman” status in Washington, but also disturbed Fatah and Hamas. His reforms threatened Hamas’ “state within a state” infrastructure in the West Bank, similar to the infrastructure in Gaza that brought it to power there. Hamas had governed these infrastructures largely unchallenged until Fayyad’s appointment in June 2007. Furthermore, Hamas and some Fatah groups opposed what they understood as PA attempts to anesthetize the Palestinian armed resistance through Western-backed economic projects.16 Hamas attacks on the Erez and Karni industrial zones in Gaza are good illustrations of this attitude.
Fayyad attempted to justify his policy reform moves to Fatah and Hamas colleagues as fulfilling the Palestinians’ Stage One obligations according to the Quartet’s diplomatic Roadmap.17 Fayyad insisted that Palestinian fulfillment of Roadmap obligations would force Israel to remove West Bank settlement outposts and accept a PA presence in eastern Jerusalem.18 However, Fatah and Hamas remained unconvinced, suspecting that fast-track economic progress would douse the flames of the “liberation struggle” and possibly replace it. Specifically, Fatah saw its pivotal role threatened in both the military and economic spheres by Fayyad’s empowerment of the private sector and the establishment of the independent “Dayton forces” that were replacing the PA-sanctioned Fatah militias.
Fayyad was also seen as a threat to Hamas military control. His government was established following the Hamas takeover in Gaza, and its prime task was to contain Hamas in the West Bank and avoid a similar bloody putsch there. Fayyad’s motivations were driven by political self-preservation as opposed to preventing attacks against Israel. Nonetheless, Fayyad’s National Security Forces arrested Hamas activists, censored Hamas incitement in Friday mosque sermons, appointed new loyal mosque preachers, and revised and supervised the funding of religious affairs.19
In sharp contrast to Fayyad’s moves against Hamas, Fatah had refused to take similar actions when it was in full control of the PA between 1993 and 2006, in contravention to the security requirements agreed to at Oslo and in line with the Quartet’s 2002 Roadmap. However, Fatah appreciated Fayyad’s tough anti-Hamas measures taken after Fatah was expelled from Gaza.
Fayyad was not naïve. He attempted to curry favor with both movements. He has continued to pay monthly salaries to nearly 12,000 Hamas Executive Force members, which had been agreed upon by the short-lived Palestinian national unity government that resulted from the 2007 Mecca accords.20 It is no small irony that the same PA-funded Hamas Executive Force fought IDF troops in the recent Gaza war.21 In addition, in the West Bank, Fayyad was careful not to undermine Hamas control of municipalities and the social and educational services they provided to local residents.
Fayyad’s Problems with Fatah
Fayyad also treated Fatah carefully. He avoided confrontation with the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, Fatah’s military wing. In several cases, such as in Nablus, he even integrated Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade leaders as local commanders in the PA’s National Security Forces (the “Dayton forces”). In general, the thrust of his activity was directed against the Hamas military wing that was suspected of plotting to subvert the Palestinian Authority via preaching anti-PA invective and financing anti-PA activity across the West Bank. Fayyad made it clear that his forces would work to stop “internal anarchy” but not “armed resistance” against Israel.22
A good example of the constant struggle of the “Dayton forces” to defend the PA from a Hamas takeover was noted at a PA cabinet meeting on June 11, 2009, where it was revealed that Hamas had sought to dig tunnels under PA security installations.23
Fayyad also reached local agreements with Fatah militias according to which activists would keep their weapons hidden at home and suspend anti-Israel terror operations in exchange for being left alone by PA security forces.24 Some Fatah terror operatives were even sheltered in PA installations during negotiations with Israel to pardon them and remove them from Israel’s wanted list.25
Zakariya Zubeidi, commander of the Aqsa Martyrs in Jenin, challenged the understandings with Fayyad by appearing armed at a June 12, 2009, interview with the Israeli Yediot Ahronot newspaper during which he explained why he has agreed to refrain from armed resistance while promising to return to cooperation with Hamas “the moment the order is given.”26
At the same time, the Aqsa Martyrs were reportedly involved with Hizbullah in subversive activity in Egypt.27 The official Palestinian news agency Wafa was quick to announce a statement by the Aqsa Martyrs declaring that they had severed relations with Hizbullah,28 but the announcement implied continued PA recognition of the Aqsa Brigades. The Fatah militia also admitted that Hizbullah had been its only source of financing, an indication of Iranian influence in the West Bank.
Furthermore, while Fayyad’s “Dayton forces” dispersed Hamas demonstrations in the West Bank during the Gaza war, they did not act against the protests of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, which violated standing agreements that its members conceal their weapons and desist from public displays of force. They only moved against Hamas.
Fayyad’s bid to reach a modus vivendi with other Fatah leaders also partially succeeded. The fact that his government was based on the local West Bank leadership as opposed to the old Fatah “Tunis leadership” helped him in stabilizing and even enhancing relations with jailed Tanzim leader Marwan Bargouti and Fatah’s former Preventative Security head Muhammad Dahlan.29 Fayyad has visited Bargouti in prison on several occasions.
However, Fayyad’s attempts to curry favor with Fatah met with only limited success. Aqsa Martyrs Brigades members accused Fayyad of being an American agent and published threats against him,30 as rivals in Fatah’s “old guard” leadership mobilized to pass resolutions in official Fatah meetings calling for Fayyad’s ouster.31
Fayyad’s siding with the “young guard” also fanned economic rivalries. Fayyad’s shared economic interests with Munib al-Masri’s economic group clashed with the economic interests of the “old guard” in several cases that have likely negatively affected his relations with PA Chairman Abbas.32 Economic and political tensions between the two leaders have reached new heights. Abbas even surprised President Obama during their recent meeting in Washington when he suggested nominating another prime minister instead of Fayyad due to “Fatah opposition.”33 However, a more compelling reason was Fayyad’s winning of a hotly contested, multi-million dollar cell phone contract that apparently caused Abbas a major loss of prestige and exposed the PA treasury to a major financial setback.34
Hamas writer Ibrahim al-Madhun noted on the Hamas website al-Bayan: “What the Arab public does not know is that Salam Fayyad is not welcomed by Fatah even in the West Bank. He is not pleased with the Fatah movement and perceives it as an anarchic organization that needs to be destroyed from the foundations and rebuilt in a way that corresponds to the Israeli occupation. The Fayyad danger to Fatah is greater than to Hamas.”35
The Sharm a-Sheikh Aid Conference
The Sharm a-Sheikh Palestinian aid conference, hosted by Egypt in January 2009, placed Fayyad in an untenable situation. The international community pledged more than $5 billion for Gaza reconstruction.36 However, the international community conditioned the aid with a demand to bypass Hamas completely. Egypt insisted on the precondition of a successful outcome of reconciliation talks with Hamas in Cairo. The Gulf emirates and Saudi Arabia conditioned their donations on channeling funds directly to construction projects on the ground in Gaza, thereby bypassing both Fatah and Hamas. For its part, Hamas established a special bank in Gaza to receive Qatari aid and that of other friendly parties to bypass the PA.
Despite mutual enmity, Fatah and Hamas have been motivated to cooperate in undermining Fayyad as the point man for international aid. In their view, if he were to receive even part of the pledged $5 billion, he and his government would be strengthened. Hamas regarded itself as the legitimate recipient of the money, resenting Fayyad’s role as financial gate-keeper and accusing him of being an agent of the United States.37
At the same time, Fayyad also faced an acute financial crisis when he was unable to pay salaries to PA officials on multiple occasions.38 This was largely due to the fact that much of the $7 billion in international pledges from the 2007 Paris donors conference had still not been delivered.39
The pressures on Fayyad resulting from the discontent of the Palestinian street forced him to make sharply anti-Israel declarations to survive politically. He warned that he would compel Israel to yield to international resolutions and demanded that Israel remove all roadblocks, implement the Gaza-West Bank “safe passage,” cease all settlement construction, and end military operations in the West Bank.40
Implications for Fatah-Hamas Relations
Fayyad’s resignation and return to office may have far-reaching repercussions for the future stability of the PA,since Hamas and Fatah made it clear that, from their respective perspectives, Fayyad’s resignation was final.41 Azzam al-Ahmad, head of the Fatah bloc in the Palestinian Legislative Council, demanded the appointment of a Fatah prime minister.42 Some Fatah groups also threatened violence to change the political reality in the PA.43
Fatah-Hamas “anti-Fayyad” coordination may play out in several ways.First, there may be upgraded opposition to Fayyad’s “Dayton forces,” which were seen to be operating in collaboration with Israel by Fatah, Hamas, and other Palestinian factions. Second, both Fatah militias and Hamas share the need for an external enemy like Israel, which had traditionally served as an effective, if temporary, unifying factor that masked internal Palestinian rivalries during the Arafat era.44
This is significant in view of the mutual suspicion and enmity between Fatah and Hamas and the likely collapse of their national unity talks in Egypt, which could easily devolve into a new round of violence against Israel.45 Fayyad can neither temper nor join his Fatah and Hamas rivals. His version of non-violent political activity against Israel, such as demonstrations against the West Bank security barrier in which he had participated on several occasions, have not been widely popular.46 Fatah and Hamas have both rejected his non-violent approach.47
The government of Salam Fayyad reflects the intention of the United States to generate a reform process in the PA that would create a new framework through which the Palestinians could move from an era of gangsterism, armed resistance, and terror to an era of nation-building and statehood. Fayyad has led a commendable effort to advance this new agenda. However, the PA’s embattled prime minister does not have the political infrastructure to carry the weight of this burden. He lacks a political base and has threatened existing Palestinian political frameworks. Moreover, Washington’s notion that reformed political power can be purchased is naïve. In fact, Fayyad’s unprecedented control of Western donations makes him a ripe target for both Fatah and Hamas.
His alliance with the “young guard” Fatah leadership has thus far proved to be insufficient and the deals he has made with local warlords and militia groups in the West Bank have severely compromised his state-building project. Fayyad is now encircled. Hamas and Fatah are united against him, the donor community has not fulfilled its commitments, and the collapse of the Wataniyya cellular phone company venture risks future investments and destabilizes the already vulnerable PA treasury, while Fayyad’s anti-Israel posture will likely backfire with the Netanyahu government in Israel.
This raises new questions as to the future of the “Dayton forces” that have been so highly touted in Washington circles as representing a stable, effective, centralized military force. The recent bloody confrontations between Fayyad’s “Dayton forces” and Hamas may point to further armed confrontation both within the Palestinian ranks and against Israel.
* * *
1. Dan Diker and Khaled Abu Toameh, “Can the Palestinian Authority’s Fatah Forces Retake Gaza?” Jerusalem Viewpoints, no. 569, Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, Jan.-Feb. 2009.
3. According to Adnan Dmeri, Spokesman for PA National Security Forces, Al Jazeera, May 31, 2009.
4. Interview with a senior Fatah security official in Ramallah, May 27, 2009.
5. For example, the new government includes “young guard” figures such as Hatem Abd al-Qader, Marwan Bargouti’s deputy in the Tanzim supreme committee. Other “young guard” figures such as Hussein a-Sheikh are known to be close to Muhammad Dahlan. The general impression in Palestinian circles is that Dahlan is playing an increasingly powerful role in the composition of the new government.
6. The text of Fayyad’s resignation can be found at http://www.aawsat.com/print.asp?did=510228&issueno=11059.
7. Fayyad interview with Al-Hayat al-Jadeeda, April 2, 2009, http://www.palpress.ps/arabic/index.php?maa=ReadStory&ChannelID=52494.
8. Assessment by Yuval Diskin, Head of the Israeli Security Agency, to the Netanyahu Cabinet, March 29, 2009, as reported on Israel Radio.
9. Al-Bayan, a Hamas website (in Arabic), said Fayyad’s resignation would not be rescinded and compared Fayyad to Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai, whom Washington had installed in Muslim territory in order to uproot the muqawama – the “Islamic resistance.” http://www.albian.ps/ar/portal/7f1a6b0a-acee -402c-a75c-bb732c3d9033.aspx. “The end of the Salam Fayyad phenomenon in the Palestinian arena….The first Fayyad mission was to participate in eliminating Yasser Arafat and demolishing his financial influence, but his basic mission was eliminating the Palestinian resistance and creating a new Palestinian regime that will follow the Zionist entity.” Also, a Hamas leaflet in the West Bank, reacting to the resignation, said: “There will be no government that follows the USA shape.” http://www.omamah.org/?x=3&z=81&y=21. Leading Hamas figure Mahmud Zahar went as far as stating, “even if they give us the sun in our hands, we shall not accept that Fayyad will head the government.” http://www.palpress.ps/arabic/index.php?maa=ReadStory&ChannelID=51646.
10. Speech by Lt.-Gen. Keith Dayton, U.S. Security Coordinator for Israel and the Palestinian National Authority, Washington Institute for Near East Policy, May 7, 2009, http://www.washingtoninstitute.org/html/pdf/DaytonKeynote.pdf. See also, “U.S. Plans to Expand Program for Abbas’ Forces,” Reuters, April 27, 2009.
11. Dayton Speech, May 7, 2009. Dayton noted: “The results are beyond our most optimistic expectations and they relate directly to the title of this talk, ‘Peace through Security.’ The facts on the ground have changed, and will continue to change. The situation may be fragile; there are many challenges ahead. But this is real progress in changing facts on the ground.” A senior IDF source told the authors in a meeting in Jerusalem on May 24, 2009, that the IDF General Staff has been impressed with the Dayton forces’ abilities to enforce public order in Palestinian-controlled areas of the West Bank.
12. Speech by Brig.-Gen. Michael Herzog, “The Middle East Security Agenda, an Israeli Assessment,” Washington Institute for Near East Policy, May 7, 2009, http://www.washingtoninstitute.org/html/pdf/HerzogKeynote.pdf.
13. Senior Fatah personnel blamed Fayyad for administering the security organs as an “accountant” and not as a military professional. Meeting in Ramallah with a senior Fatah official, January 12, 2009.
14. Diker and Abu Toameh.
15. http://www.albian.ps/ar/portal/7f1a6b0a-acee-402c-a75c-bb732c3d9033.aspx (Arabic).
16. Dan Diker, “Peace Parks and Pipe Dreams,” Jerusalem Post, November 26, 2007.
17. Al-Quds al-Arabi, April 23, 2009.
18. See also Fayyad interview with the Medialine News Agency website in which he warned that he would compel Israel to yield to international resolutions like the Roadmap. http://www.themedialine.org/news/news_detail.asp?NewsID=24349. He noted: “The Roadmap is an international document. Actually it has become itself a matter of international law because there is UN Security Council Resolution 1515 that actually deals with that. I think the issue should be, ‘Isn’t it time already for there to be insistence on applying international law as it is and stop what has become a common practice of negotiating it?’ A commitment is a commitment and obligations are obligations.” On the occasion of Land Day events in the Bethlehem area he went further, declaring that, “Israel must take immediate steps with no negotiations of compliance to the Roadmap, removing the siege, activating the safe passage, stopping settlement activity and assailing the PA authorities.” Al-Hayat al-Jadeeda, March 26, 2009. The Palestinian ambassador in Stockholm, Dr. Haidar Abd a-Shafi, admitted that the EU decision to link the upgrade of its relations with Israel with its obligations to the two-state solution was a result of Abbas’ and Fayyad’s diplomacy in Europe. Al-Quds, March 2, 2009. At a gathering for Gaza that took place in Ramallah on March 11, 2009, Fayyad boasted that he succeeded in pressuring Israel through the international community and isolated the “Hebrew” (he does not recognize the Jewish state) state for inflicting massive damage on Gaza. He demanded that Israel unconditionally yield to international demands and open all roadblocks and the Gaza-West Bank safe passage, and cease all settlement construction as well as military incursions in the West Bank. Al-Hayat al-Jadeeda, March 12, 2009.
19. Ibrahim al-Madhun noted on the al-Bayan website: “The strategic mistake that Salam Fayyad committed lately was his animosity to the Hamas movement in the West Bank and the operations of the security organs of killing, kidnapping (arresting) and torturing of hundreds of Hamas fighters…and closing down charity institutions as well as educational and health care that belong or are close to Hamas, and the ambitious Fayyad did not understand that the Hamas movement is the ‘main gate’ to Palestinian legal and national policy and that every attempt to bypass it is doomed to failure.”
20. Diker and Abu Toameh.
21. The al-Ahed website (in Arabic) reported on April 8, 2009, that after Israel permitted the transfer of money to Gaza, the (Fayyad) government sent salaries to Gaza banks for the benefit of PA government employees “and military personnel” which included thousands of Hamas operatives. http://www.alaahd.com/arabic/?action=detail&id=8378.
22. The Palestinian representative in Lebanon, Fatah senior official Abbas Zaki, in an interview on PA TV, shed light on the nature of Hamas’ subversive activity in the West Bank. He had tried to intervene with Abbas and Fayyad in favor of some of Hamas’ detainees in order to release them. He said, “I received detailed information on plans to commit assassinations of responsible personnel and formal commanders in addition to being involved in smuggling and storing huge quantities of weapons and smuggling of illegal funds. The problem was that the weapons that they stored were not (slated to be) used against Israel but were prepared for different targets.” Al-Hayat al-Jadeeda, January 31, 2009.
24. Diker and Abu Toameh.
25. Even Islamic Jihad terrorists found shelter from Israeli pursuit in Fayyad installations in Jenin. See http://www.maannews.net/arb/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=139862 (Arabic). On the shelter of the Aqsa Martyrs in Bethlehem, see http://www.maannews.net/arb/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=152487.
26. Yanna Pevzner, “Beyond the Bullet,” Yediot Ahronot, June 12, 2009.
28. Al-Hayat al-Jadeeda, April 18, 2009.
29. It is not surprising therefore that Dahlan’s website Pal Press endorsed Fayyad’s return as head of a Palestinian unity government. http://www.palpress.ps/arabic/index.php?maa=ReadStory&ChannelID=51618.
30. Diker and Abu Toameh.
32. An open dispute broke out between Fayyad and Abbas over advancing the interests of competing cellular phone companies Jawwal and Wataniyya. While Fayyad supported Jawwal’s partnership with a leading Kuwaiti company, Zain, Abbas supported Kuwaiti competitor Wataniyya. http://www.maannews.net/arb/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=153298. Abbas’ communications advisor, Dr. Sabri Saidam, insisted that before the PA approved the agreement, Jawwal must disconnect from Munib’s Paltel concern. Al-Hayat al-Jadeeda, April 5, 2009. See also http://www.palpress.ps/arabic/index.php? maa=ReadStory&ChannelID=52795.
33. Authors’ meeting with senior Fatah sources, Ramallah, June 10, 2009.
34. Al-Jazeera, June 6, 2009. For more on the Wataniyya-Zain cell phone contract crisis, see
35. During the Cairo reconciliation meetings, Hamas and Fatah exchanged views on a variety of topics including their shared interest in removing Fayyad, http://www.albian.ps/ar/portal/7f1a6b0a-acee-402c-a75c-bb732c3d9033.aspx.
36. Amira Hass, “International Donors Pledge $5.2 Billion for Gaza Reconstruction,” Ha’aretz, March 2, 2009.
37. Hamas threatened Fayyad not to channel the Gaza money to Ramallah. Hamas, on its main Palestinian Information Center website, accused the Sharm e-Sheikh conference of bolstering Abbas’ authority in the West Bank at the expense of the victims of Israel’s Gaza operation as well as the owners of the demolished houses in Gaza.http://www.palestine-info.info/ar/default.aspx?xyz=U6Qq7k%2bc Od87MDI46m9rUxJEpMO%2bi1s7yhk% 2fk6eoiWKtOx7kFjU4Hg KKloR0J2BFD3yjrqUQcd6Ktz8cPuyVl4YfyEFMjG2rGZFxBl098dv Z9vIOAwAyZMbwoOuCjJZYI%2biCs8okgPE%3d. Also, during the Gaza war Hamas published reports about alleged security cooperation between the IDF and the “Dayton forces.” For example, see the Hamas website Palestine Today for March 19, 2009: “Abbas’ Organs in Hebron Delivered Three Hamas Supporters to the Occupation.” See also http://www.paltimes.net/arabic/news.php?news_id=87068.
38. Fayyad’s intended delay in paying salaries to security organs that were recruited before the formation of the “Dayton forces” created a serious showdown between all Fatah military personnel and the new conscripts. http://www.alaahd.com/arabic/?action=detail&id=7579. Fayyad government secretary Dr. Sa’di al-Krunz admitted to al-Ahd, one of Fatah’s websites, that no money entered the PA from the Sharm e-Sheikh summit “despite the organs set up for them and the Paris donors’ summit.” http://www.alaahd.com/arabic/?action=detail&id=7367.
39. On June 16, 2009, the PA’s Ramallah-based information minister, Riyadh al-Malki, admitted that only $760 million arrived at the PA treasury from the January 2008 Paris donor conference at which $7 billion had been committed to the PA. Al-Hayat al-Jadeeda, June 17, 2009.
40. See note 18.
41. Hamas leader Ibrahim al-Madhun said: “It is the Hamas movement’s duty while preparing for the national dialogue to remove Fayyad from any future government whatsoever and help the Fatah movement to put an end to the U.S.’s project in the West Bank.” http://www.albian.ps/ar/portal/7f1a6b0a-acee-402c-a75c-bb732c3d9033.aspx.
43. Al-Quds al-Arabi, May 20, 2009. Fatah sources also noted that Fatah groups planned to organize major disturbances in Ramallah and the West Bank and that major trade unions will refuse to cooperate with the Abbas-Fayyad government.
44. David Makovsky, Senior Fellow and Director of the Middle East Peace Process project at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, expressed concern over the future of the “Dayton forces” in the event Hamas and Fatah agree on a unity government. http://www.washingtoninstitute.org:80/templateC05.php?CID=3028.
The Islamic Jihad website, “Palestine Today,” revealed from Hamas sources the points of agreement and disagreement over security cooperation. They only mentioned the “old” security organs and explicitly avoided any mention of the “Dayton forces.” http://www.paltoday.com/arabic/News-41294.html. Also, according to the Fatah website Al-Ahed, Hamas accepted Abu Ala’s suggestion following the return of Fayyad to office that Fatah and Hamas amahestablish a joint security committee, which can only be understood in the context of a joint rejection of Fayyad’s “Dayton forces.”
45. Hamas has announced that it is ready for a new military Intifada in the West Bank, http://www.omamah.org/?x=3&z=212&y=7.
46. On March 22, 2009, Fayyad convened in his bureau the committees of the “popular intifada” as opposed to the military one. These committees were charged with organizing the popular activities against the security barrier and the settlements. Fayyad told them: “This example of resistance received respect, appreciation and support worldwide.” See Al-Hayat al-Jadeeda, March 22 2009.
47. Hamas’ rejection of Fayyad’s “non-violent” Intifada is obvious. As for Fatah, al-Quds daily published a report on March 8, 2009, about a meeting at Al-Quds University with the participation of Fatah cadres in preparation for the 6th General Congress and in their concluding statement they said: “To stick to the resistance strategy…(alongside) the political alternatives…[is] not being limited to one alternative.” “Resistance” here means terror. A senior Fatah official from Bethlehem, Nafez Rifai, said that the “anti-wall” activities such as in Ni’lin and Bil’in can be applied as a “successful modus operandi” after the South African example. That is to say, Fatah adheres to the old military struggle principle but is ready to adopt other useful methods in addition to the “armed struggle.” However, he indirectly attacked Fayyad from another angle, saying: “The Fatah leadership will end up penniless as a result of non-patriotic agendas trying to undermine the movement financially.”
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Dan Diker is Director of the Institute for Contemporary Affairs at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, where he is also a senior foreign policy analyst. He is also an Adjunct Fellow of the Hudson Institute in Washington.
Pinhas Inbari is a senior policy analyst at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. He is also a veteran Palestinian affairs correspondent who formerly reported for Israel Radio and Al Hamishmar newspaper, and currently reports for several foreign media outlets. He is the author of a number of books on the Palestinians including The Palestinians: Between Terrorism and Statehood.